"Bacon is the candy of meat."

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving, Again

Thanksgiving comes but twice a year when you are an American in Canada. Actually, in our family it came thrice, because we celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving twice in October with different pieces of the family. I thought I could not tolerate another slice of turkey (or another turkey-laden dish of leftovers surprise) -- I'm not even that wild about turkey in the first place -- but as my Facebook feed lit up with cooking checklists and carving tips, travel reports and pie baking action shots -- I realized I felt like I was missing something.

Honestly, Thanksgiving has never been my favorite holiday. I feel the anxiety start to ratchet up as early as August, when my family is hanging out at the end of summer and suddenly everyone starts talking about who will host this year and what will be on the menu. I always found it stressful. I lived in our hometown, but at a distance from where the bulk of the family currently resides, and with no in-laws local (or even celebrating the same holiday, see Canadian Thanksgiving, above), we were always expected to be guests, never hosts. As someone who loves to cook and entertain, this always made me feel a bit of a fifth wheel. And with such a tradition-bound holiday, I never enjoyed the cooking that much. It left little space to try new things.

On Wednesday night all the status updates with pumpkin pie counts finally got to me. I decided we'd have our own little Thanksgiving. Mr. Gateau had a work event, but the U.S. passport-holding family members gathered around the iPad and spoke to my gathered family in upstate New York, then sat down to a mini-feast of our own.

The table was decorated with turkey cards provided by Young Master Gateau in his "personal corporate logo" colors. Yes, my kids design their own trademarks.

The meal centerpiece was a roasted turkey breast, which my butcher had kindly brined for me (including a label with the time to take it out of the brine) and I'd seasoned with garlic, marjoram, and thyme. Although my meat thermometer appears to be stuck at 180F, it came out perfect -- crispy skin and juicy meat. I made a pan gravy with a touch of soy sauce.

Sides were roasted sweet potatoes with a tamarind glaze, skillet Brussels sprouts with maple, lemon, and balsamic, and fresh corn bread.  We were all so stuffed that nobody touched the maple crunch ice cream for dessert.

I think this one is a keeper, as we make our new traditions.

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